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step by step guide2INTRODUCTION

The world of authors has expanded significantly with the introduction of e-publishing. More and more writers are taking charge of their destiny, and are self publishing their titles. What this means is they are cutting out the "middle person" - the traditional publisher - and doing it themselves. Why?

  • Self publishers have more control over their works
  • They are not forced to work within the confines of arbitrary contract rules
  • It gives them more freedom in terms of timing and distribution choices  

But most importantly: Self publishing helps you, the author, make more money from your work than you could if you teamed up with one of the big publishers.

SELF PUBLISHING - STEP-by-STEP

If you are one of the thousands of Indie writers looking to self publish, then we'll tell you how you can achieve success:

STEP 1: Write the Book
The first step is the most important one - writing the right book! You'll need the following ingredients to make this happen:

a) A great story-line/plot
b) Well researched material (even if it's based on fiction)
c) Well written

Put all these three things together, and you're bound to have a winning combination.

STEP 2: Edit The Book
Book editing is sometimes more crucial than the actual task of writing the book. High class editing can polish a rough-cut manuscript and make it into a sparkling gem of a book. Mistake-riddled, typo-prone or grammatically incorrect books will scar your reputation forever. So take time to review your work, get friends and family to do it, or seek professional editorial help.

STEP 3: Cover and Interior Design/Formatting, eBook Conversion
It is now time to take your edited manuscript and turn it into a piece of art. This step involves:

  • Designing the cover
  • Interior book designing
  • Formatting
  • eBook Conversion

And here's where things can get tricky for most Indie writers.  Unless you are an expert in all of the graphics packages and confident about you're designing and formatting skills, this is not something to leave to chance. The Fast Fingers is a professional book formatting and designing service that can help you with this all-important step.

STEP 4: Select a Self-publishing platform

This is where you decide which platform you plan on using to self-publish your book. Online options include:  

  • CreateSpace
  • Lulu
  • Lightning Source
  • Kindle  Direct Publishing
  • Ingram

Typically, you'll need to follow these steps to publish your book using one of these online services:

a) Setting up your title on your chosen platform. Multiple sub-options are presented, which you will be asked to choose from, including price, distribution channels, shipping mode, Royalty decisions etc.
b) Uploading of appropriately formatted files to your self-publishing platform
c) Ordering a printed proof, and then reviewing and approving it
d) When everything looks good - hit the publish button!


There's nothing to stop you from using more than one platform. However, you will need to be adept at all the rules and conventions that each of these e-publishers imposes on writers, and that can be extremely challenging. That's where professionals like The Fast Fingers can add value through their vast knowledge and experience of what it takes to publish across multiple platforms.   

If online publishing is not where you want to go, you may use your own preferred printer to have your manuscript printed.

STEP 5: Promote your title

Here's where you tell the world what a great book yours is, and why readers should buy it. There are any numbers of promotion techniques that you can employ, including:

  • Participate in Book Fairs
  • Organize book-signing events at local malls and busy shopping centers
  • Host a book reading event
  • Use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter on MySpace, online Blogs and other social media platforms to promote it
  • Use insert-in flyers in newspapers and other local publications


The idea is to be consistent with your message, and be focused on your audience.

STEP 6: Protect your title

Here's where you do everything within your power to protect your intellectual property rights from being stolen or misused. Most online publishing platforms will have options that will assist you with ISBN, CIP/PCIP registration, but at the end of the day, it's up to you to ensure you have strong copyright protection for your book.

YOU'RE ALL DONE!

And that's pretty much what it takes to self publish. It definitely takes some work on your part, but the joys of being an Indie writer who also self publishes is worth the few extra hours a day that you put in. And if you ever feel overwhelmed, you should take comfort from the fact that The Fast Fingers is always here to help you!

 

espionage thrillerSo, what do terrorists and suspense have to do with Thomaskirche, the East German city that's synonymous with majestic cathedrals and grandeurs basilicas? This 13th-century monastery, which boasts of tall roofs and high arched edifices, is where the 12 children of Johann Sebastian Bach, the famous music composer, and young Richard Wagner, were baptised.

Thomaskirche is the place where Martin Luther once preached, heralding the arrival of Protestantism. Such are settings meant for peace, love and romance. So why would it now be the scene of the culmination of a gruesome international incident?  

Why indeed? And that's exactly what American Mark Haines wonders! He was on his way to enjoy a peaceful vacation on deep Bachground, where fans of Bach gatherer to commemorate the great music legend's contribution to musical history.  But as life often does, this young career diplomat and political officer was thrown a curveball. With just a simple, yet mysterious sounding note, from none other than the Secretary of State herself, Mark's eagerly-awaited vacation plans became embroiled in the suspense that was to follow!

Even before his flight lands in Germany, Mark had so many questions about his new found "assignment". What exactly did Madam Secretary mean by "A situation will arise in Germany...?" And who are the "...new colleagues" that the puzzling note referred to? Mark had no idea that this vacation was going to soon turn into something of a nightmare - the stuff that spy thrillers are made of!

But when bodies start dropping all around him, starting just as his flight lands at Frankfurt International Airport, the gruesome plot starts percolating. He was pretty much on his own, figuring out what this all means, when romance enters his life in the form of ex-acquaintance, gorgeous German-Canadian model Leonore, who happens to be staying in the same hotel as Mark.

Mark's eagerly awaited plans, to enjoy the festivities that are about to unfold on deep Bachground, are suddenly put in jeopardy. In fact, the lives of dozens, if not hundreds, of innocent revellers and merrymakers are at stake from terrorists who are about to unleash gruesome carnage during Bach Fest. But then, the Russians enter the picture, adamant that Mark holds the key to helping them solve an unexplained problem of their own.    

With not much to go on, the young diplomat's world is pushed deeper into suspense when German police insist they need his help to solve the string of murders that mysteriously started as Mark enters Germany.

How much excitement can someone expect on vacation, now that Middle Eastern terrorists, Russian agents and German police are all embroiled in Mark's life? And while he tries to figure this all out, Mark's new-found romance is suddenly on the line, and he must do everything he can to protect the life of Leonore.  

So, what do terrorists and suspense have to do with Thomaskirche? Well, strange as it may all seem, in order to prevent carnage from unfolding on deep Bachground, Mark has to now scale Europe's steepest rooftop in an effort to save the life of one of the suicide bombers planning to unleash that gruesome carnage!  Ironic, isn't it?

But there's still the question of where all of the other terrorists are, and what their plans are for Bach Fest. And how do the Germans and Russians fit into this plot? Mark Haines, the career diplomat turned international spy has yet to find out!

Wednesday, 25 February 2015 02:43

On Deep Bachground: Bachfest Inspired Novel

Written by

The historical city of Leipzig in Germany plays host to an event of great significance - Bachfest - each year. This glorious event, which celebrates the musical genius of one of Germany's most famous sons, composer J.S Bach, has been commemorated by the city since 1908. Also previously called Bach Weeks (Bachwochen) or Bach Days (Bachtage), Bachfest is today the highpoint for Leipzig and many revelers who come to witness it's festivities on deep Bachground.

The event, which is filled with joyful and somber reflection of Bachs' accomplishments, attracts thousands of music lovers from all over the world. They come in droves to be with their fellow music aficionados, and to enjoy Bach concerts and his music of the past, as rendered by his modern-day peers. And one such admirer of Bach was American foreign services officer Mark Haines.

What was to be a fun-filled, musical vacation for Mark on deep Bachground, turned out to be something straight out of a spy thriller! Bachfest 2000 was something Mark was so eagerly looking forward to.  It was supposed to be his long awaited vacation. But a mysterious note from the U.S Secretary of State changed all of that in an instant!

No sooner had Mark's plane landed at Frankfurt International Airport, that events far removed from fun, music and festivities start unfolding. First, it was just one body that dropped, right in the airport parking lot. But then, just like fans piling up to witness some of Bach's masterpieces, the body count piles up too. Mark has no idea what's happening - but German police are not buying that!

The plot thickens when the Russian's enter the scene. They are convinced that Mark holds all the answers to a puzzle that they need help deciphering. Does this have something to do with the "situation" that Madam Secretary's note mentioned? And what about the "new colleagues" she alluded to? Could they be the Russians? The Germans? ...or some other hereto unnamed group?

Before Mark has time to collect his thoughts, he finds himself in the midst of a bizarre plot by a group of fanatical Middle-Eastern terrorists that want to turn Bachfest 2000 into a scene of carnage and blood bath.  Surely this dedicated embassy official can't let that happen? But what should Mark do? Can he thwart the terrorists' plans, and still salvage what's left of his own plans?

Each year sees more than a hundred lively events leading up to and during Bachfest. The festivities open with Bach concerts that are conducted by the current Thomaskantor of the world famous Boy's choir, and culminates with a grand performance of Bach's famous Mass in B Minor at the historical St. Thomas Church in Leipzig.  

All Mark Haynes wanted to do was enjoy a nice vacation and soak up all the festivities that Bachfest2000 promised. And for a little while, with gorgeous German-Canadian top model Leonora, entering his life, that vacation seemed like a remote possibility. But as events unfolded in this "situation", instead of leaping up and applauding the performances of the choirs under the tall steeples of St. Thomas, Mark found himself leaping off some of the tallest structures in Europe - right on deep Bachground - to save a would-be suicide bomber.       

Anyone else would be relieved that Bachfest has finally been saved, and that the festivities can finally go on. But can they? So far, just a single terrorist has been accounted for. What about the others in the group? What are they planning? And will the Germans and the Russians leave Mark alone to enjoy his vacation on deep Bachground?

So many questions left unanswered!

Thursday, 19 February 2015 01:36

On Deep Bachground

Written by

espionageThose of us that work hard and look forward to some well deserved time off, will surely empathize with American diplomat Mark Haines's plans for his vacation on deep Bachground.  The Bach festival in Germany is supposed to be a fun-filled, festive occasion to celebrate the life of German composer Johann Sebastian Bach.  And if you are aficionado of classical music, there's no where you'd rather be than right at Bachground, taking in the ambiance of Bachfest. Relaxing, and getting away from the humdrum of the office routine.

But wait a minute! What's that they say about the best laid plans of mice and men? Some vacation plans have a way to get unwound, don't they? You always hope, pray and cross your fingers that it won't happen to you...but you never can tell, can you?

How would you feel if, unsuspectingly, you ended up in the midst of an international espionage plot? Initially, you'd probably be an unwilling player, going along and cooperating, as Mark does, with the German authorities to try and get to the bottom of things. After all, this is your vacation, right? Well...not quite!
   
But as the body count mounts, and as you get wind of strange people watching and following you, it would be sufficient to stir even the most docile of political officers into action. Murder and mayhem were probably the last things on your vacation plans, but when you're in the thick of things, your instinctive will to survive kicks in!

The diplomat in you will quickly turn into survivor, which will provide you an endless supply of adrenalin to deal with the situation. But how would you deal with a situation that only gets more complicated from here on?  What does someone, untrained in the art of espionage, do when intelligence agents from Russia are thrown into the fray? What you thought would be a relaxing, musical trip to Germany , looks like exploding into a full blown diplomatic "incident".

And speaking of explosions, how would you react if you then knew that a group of Middle Eastern "bad characters" were planning mass murder - bombings and destruction - right there on deep Bachground? A place where party lovers and music admirers come together, will all of a sudden become scene to mass carnage - unless something is done to prevent it! Dozens, if not hundreds of innocent revelers like you could get hurt, or worse!
 
Would you simply walk away saying "This is not part of my job description"?  Would you just let the "relevant authorities" deal with the situation? But if your boss was none other than the U.S Secretary of State, who personally ordered the change in your vacation plans, would you even have the courage to turn away and look the other way?  Probably not!

Even though the bad guys chase you all across Germany, and even while being shot at or interrogated by people who suspect you know more than you are letting on, you'll do your best under the circumstances you find yourself...especially if those "circumstances" involve a top German-Canadian model that you are attracted to!
 
From career diplomat, eager to take part in the festivities planned for Bachfest on deep Bachground in Germany, to the central figure in a complex plot of espionage, terror, murder and mass destruction; how did it ever come to this, and how does it end? No one but YOU can tell!

on deep bachgroundA powerful and gripping novel of havoc, murder, music and romance during the Bachfest Leipzig 2000 festival, now available in Kindle Edition and Paperback.   


The Fast Fingers today announced the publication of a spellbinding new novel: On Deep Bachground, in the Fiction /Action thriller genre. The book, written by author Dan S. Terrell, is initially being released through Amazon Digital Services Inc. in Kindle Edition and Paperback, and is available to readers online immediately.
 
Today's announcement also provided a sneak peek into the book's plot. In today's world of mass destruction, suicide bombings and terror, this novel is indeed very timely as it explores those very subjects. Set in the 2000's, and based in the heart of Europe in Leipzig, Germany, the plot follows the exploits of dedicated, resourceful and daring civil servant and Foreign Service Officer Marcus Haines.
 
Written in true cliff-hanger style, author Terrell spins his tale of suspense and danger in a way that leaves his readers navigating many a twist and turn. En route to his well deserved and long anticipated vacation, to attend the annual J.S. Bach festival in Leipzig, Haines suddenly receives marching orders from none other than the Secretary of State herself - and those orders set in motion a chain of events that will leave readers hanging to their seats!

But the book doesn't just leave readers hanging. In daring scenes reminiscent of the legendary James Bond, Haines hangs, glides and scales Europe's steepest roof in his pursuit of terrorists, who plan mass mayhem aimed at the thousands of innocent attendees at Bachfest. With scarcely any regard for his own life, Haines is a patriot on a mission, dashing to smash a plot of suicide bombers before they wreak havoc on unsuspecting civilians.

This is a tale of international intrigue and espionage that is as difficult to unravel as a tangled ball of yarn. What have a rash of seemingly unrelated murders have to do with Haines' assignment? Why do the Russians feel that Haines can cooperate with them - for what?

While providing the sneak peek, it was also revealed that the book isn't just "all work and no play" for Haines. There is also a glimpse of romance too, in the persona of the beautiful young German-Canadian model Leonara, an acquaintance from yesteryears whom Haines is keen to reacquaint with.

The Fast Fingers also mentioned that, even though the book has been published in Kindle version, it can be read on all devices - tablets, desktops, smartphones. Interested readers can conveniently download the Kindle app at no cost and start reading the book, even without a Kindle device.

While making today's announcement, The Fast Fingers expressed optimism that, not only would readers will be thrilled by the story line, but would also appreciate the unique layout and formatting that has been created for the book.  It comes complete with 65 first-person chapters, 10 interludes with terrorists, 544 pages of manuscript with double-spacing only between the paragraphs. Plus a City of Leipzig map and an Afterward with citations and further reading recommendations.

ABOUT THE FASTFINGERS

The Fast Fingers is a book formatting service that provides a broad array of value added services to Indie writers and book publishers. They excel at preparing or formatting fiction and non-fiction manuscripts according to the formatting guidelines set by CreateSpace, Lightning Source, Lulu, Kindle Direct Publishing, Smashwords or other local printers.  The Fast Fingers has been in the book formatting and layout for many years, and was instrumental in formatting On Deep Bachground so that readers get the best reading experience.

In addition, the company also has vast experience in eBook conversions, Children's Book design, Magazine design, Proof reading, Cover design and a whole lot more.
Email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
PHONE: +1 (347) 618-0917


Now in Amazon!

Paperback - $16.88

Kindle Edition - $11.99


$20
$11.99
Thursday, 08 January 2015 22:25

Good Books Don't Start Selling: They need "Telling"!

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selling booksYes...I said "TELLING!"

Millions of good indie authors publish thousands of great books every year. Sadly, only a fraction of those excellent publications ever make it into the headlines. Most of them don't even breakeven on the cost of publication - forgotten and overlooked on book shelves all over. Why is that?

GOOD BOOKS NEED TO BE TOLD ABOUT!

If no one hears about your book, about how good it is, and about what a great story readers will miss if they don't read it, then how do you expect the book to sell? Without telling your target audience about the book, it's hard for you to expect your book will make it to the top of the best seller list. It's as simple as that!

Here are some strategies to think about when planning a campaign of "telling and selling" your next book:

Marketing

  • Part of the game of "telling" is creating a marketing hype around the book. And you don't have to wait until the book is finished to begin marketing it. Actually, you don't even need to start on chapter 1 to do so. You can begin NOW!
  • Start a Blog around the theme of your book, and begin assembling a community of like-minded bloggers and readers around you. To create hype around the book, start discussing its plot without giving away too much about your story-line.
  • Create a Facebook presence for your planned book, and start talking about some of the scenes in your book. To really stir curiosity about the book, be as vague as possible initially. As the publication date draws closer, you can actually start being a bit more specific about the plot, characters and settings
  • Listen carefully to what your community of followers are saying, and try to work in some of those ideas into your book. Then, to really hook your audience, brag and say "Yes...that's EXACTLY what the book's all about!"
  • Establish an "official" website for the book, and begin releasing select excerpts from the book once it has been published

Selling

  • The second part of "telling" is actually selling your book. While marketing creates the buzz and hype, selling is what earns you the real reward
  • Contact bookstores and supermarkets around your neighborhood (and further) and ask if they will stock your title for you
  • Offer to host "Meet The Author" events in Malls and heavily trafficked superstores. Make sure you have lots of copies of your book on hand to sell at these events
  • Make use of social media tools like Twitter to send out Tweets about these events beforehand. To draw in the crowd, offer prizes - like a FREE copy to the first 20 visitors, or a chance of winning a Kindle reader to visitors between certain times of day
  • If your book is available in eBook format, make a limited-time offer to give away a FREE print copy to a "lucky few" that download the eCopy within the first 5 days of publication  

THINK LONG-TERM

From the moment you start writing the book, don't just focus on its publication date. That will be a big mistake. Sure, you need to publish it first, before your readers can get their hands on it. But it's what happens post-publication that you should be focusing on, even before you start writing!

FORMATTING YOUR STRATEGY

If there's one thing that turns potential readers away from even considering a book, it's the books formatting. When you release excerpts and facsimile copies of the actual content of your book, make sure the formatting and organization of your content is professional and appealing. Veteran book formatting agencies like The Fast Fingers is an excellent team to have on your side when devising your book formatting strategy.



 

Wednesday, 31 December 2014 02:55

A New Year's Must Read: Revival by Stephen King

Written by

stephen king revivalStephen King's new book "Revival" is creating quite a stir.  In true King fashion, the novel explores many a dark side of human nature - from addiction to obsession, from faith, tragedy and hope, to death, curiosity and the hereafter. It's all captured  in explicit detail within the compelling pages of Revival.

The hype

Since November 11th, Revival's publishers (Simon & Schuster) have been doing a great job of promoting the new book. A unique approach has been to pre-release audio excerpts of the book. Narrated by the familiar voice of David Morse (The Green Mile), these audio trailers are mean to whet the appetite of new and die hard Stephen King fans alike. And judging from the online buzz, it's working to do just that!

The book is set in a small town in New England, and goes back in time over half a century. It explores the complex lives of a guitar-loving young teenager (Jamie Morton), and the effect that a mysterious preacher (Charles Jacobs) and his wife have on the people of the small town where Jamie and his mother and sister (Claire) live.

Complete with personal tragedy, sacrilegious curses and banishment, this dark, disturbing novel takes readers through a mysterious and terrifying journey that spans over 5 decades. The story encourages and compels each reader to examine his/her own dark demons, and come to terms with them.   The conclusion is something no one but the master of dark tales, Stephen King, can weave.
 
In the news

Right up to December 23rd 2014, the publishers have been releasing carefully selected excerpts from 7 chapters of Revival, and that's been making the news rounds. Acclaimed Hollywood star David Morse, whose voice narrates the Audiobook version of Revival, needs no introduction.

In addition to The Green Mile and two Emmy nominations, including for Treme and House and HBO miniseries John Adams, Morse has acted in a number of other famous movies such as The Crossing Guard, Dancer in the Dark, World War Z and The Hurt Locker, just to name a few.  His slow and deliberate rendition of Revival is sure to send shivers up the spines of even the most fearless readers of dark mysteries - guaranteed!

But Stephen King and Simon & Schuster are also in the news, drumming their fan bases' frenzy by exulting the virtues for great preparation, in advance of actually reading the novel. Much like a wrestler goes through a process of mental and physical preparation before jumping into the ring to meet a fearless opponent, so too must potential readers of Revival go through a ritual of initiation prior to reading the book. To make the most of Revival, fans must prepare to understand what the story holds for them, and what they can expect when they finally get their hands on the book.

The Prepare For Revival website is meant to provide future readers of this spine-chilling novel graphic insight into the plot and its characters even before they crack open the covers of "the real thing". You'll be teased to read on, and you'll also be dared to take on the complete novel - all in one! You'll have access to select excerpts from various pages (21 of them!) from the novel, and you'll also get a peek at the graphic cover of this latest book from the master of horror and suspense.

A New Year's Must Read

Revival has been in the news since earlier on this year, with Facebook posts, author interviews, Press Releases and strategic excerpt releases throughout the year. While the King of Suspense needs no praise from the media, The Guardian has been compelled to label Revival as the work of "One of the great storytellers of our time".  

If there's one Stephen King novel that makes it into your list, Revival will have to be it! Best of all, the publishers have made it available in various formats, including hardcover, eBook (Kindle, iBook and Nook), CD and MP3 form.

 

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book storeIndie writers are like master chefs. They are initially inspired by a collection of great book ingredients that are commonly liked by a reading audience. Then, using their skills and talents, they start weaving those ingredients together to create a literary masterpiece. The question is: What do readers really look for in a book?

Read on to learn about the basic ingredients that go into making an irresistible book.

WHAT'S ON THE MENU?

When you go out to dine at your favorite restaurant, whether you order from the buffet menu or a la carte, the satisfaction from the meal hinges on the ingredients used by the chef. The same is true for book lovers. Indie writers that create books with the right ingredients in them are sure to keep their readers coming back for more.

Here are some ingredients that an indie book must have on the menu:

1) The Plot (Or Subject): If your book revolves around plot, then choose it with care. And if you are writing non-fiction, then the subject of the book should be one that resonates with the vast number of your target readership.  Here are some tips to select a winning plot/subject:

  • Before creating the outline of your book, consider who your target demographic or focus audience is going to be
  • Do a lot of research before selecting the plot, theme or subject of the book. What you choose must resonate with the intended audience of your choice
  • Use Facebook, Twitter and other social media to sound out your target audience about your plot/subject, and see what comes back
  • Hang out on popular readers forums like Book Group Online,  Book Talk and other such reader groups to get a sense of what's trending in terms of themes, subjects and plots

2) Formatting: Just as presentation makes a meal more appetising, so too does the layout and formatting of your book entice readers to pick it up and read it from cover to cover.  Merely having an attractive cover or jacket design will not cut it anymore! Working with professional book formatters, like The Fast Fingers, is a great way to ensure you have the right formatting ingredients for your next book.

3) Visual aids: Well designed imagery is like the pictures you see on the menu at your restaurant. One look at the picture makes your mouth water for the real thing!
If your book is about a holiday destination, or if your plot involves a cast of children's characters, there's no better way to draw in the reader than with great pictures, illustration or photographs.

4) Style: As an indie writer, you may be a master at word craft, but sometimes writers tend to get carried away with their craft. Using long and rambling sentences or stretching out a good plot too long, is like inviting a diner to say "Ugh...too much salt!" Write to placate the palate of your readers just enough that they will want to consume the entire meal!

5) Be concise: Most readers today have a lot of things on the go simultaneously, and are very busy. Keeping the subject or plot succinct is the key to making sure they don't put down the book half way through. While a good plot may want to make the reader eager to read the next page, or even the next chapter; prolonging a plot for too long may force readers to drop the book part way through!  

6) Ubiquity: And because they are such busy people, readers often love books that they can access in multiple formats. A nice-sized paperback when reading in a place with no internet access. A well laid out PDF book to read on a desktop computer. Or an attractively formatted book for a popular eBook reader. Ubiquity is the key to attracting and retaining readers today.

A RECIPE FOR SUCCESS

Just like an age old dish that no one can get enough of, following these few tried and tested steps is a recipe for indie book writing success. However, while they may look like common sense advice, too often Indie writers tend to ignore one or all of these pearls of wisdom, causing them to alienate their audience.

 


 

Tuesday, 30 December 2014 12:17

Prepping for 2015: How Indie Authors Can Get A Head Start

Written by

happy new yearIt's true that the year 2014 has not yet passed into the history books. But the New Year is already on the horizon. While many Indie writers might want to rest a while and enjoy their laurels, savvy writers will do just the opposite: They'll start preparing for 2015 NOW!

Read on to learn how you should start positioning yourself today, to reap the rewards that 2015 may have in store for you.

POSITIONING YOURSELF FOR TOMORROW  

Like all self-employed professionals, Indie writers cannot afford the luxury of waiting for opportunities to come knocking at their door. Here are a few tips on how you can prepare yourself to successfully meet the coming year:

1) Renew old acquaintances: Do you have publishers, illustrators, book formatting service providers, editors and others, with whom you have been out of contact for a while? Well now is the time to reach out and revive those relationships. You never know which one of those contacts will be needed in a hurry for a project in 2015. Saying "Hello!" when you need them might seem opportunistic. So why not reach out ahead of that time, and re-establish those networks right now?

2) Think of new projects: Instead of waiting until 2015 is well upon you, now is the perfect time to dust off your "To Do" list and bring forward project ideas for 2015. Take a hard look at all those ideas and bring some of them to the front burner for 2015. You might even want to review the landscape and start adding fresh ideas to your project list for 2015. Doing so will give you a head start on your initial 2015 projects.

3) Think of self-improvement: Was there something new that you wanted to learn last year, that you couldn't get around to? Is there a new skill that you wish to add to your resume? As the New Year turns, things generally are slow to start off due to the holidays. Now is the perfect opportunity to reserve spots in courses and training programs to learn about new writing technology, new book marketing courses, new ways of planning and more efficiently managing book prep projects. These are skills that will help you with projects in 2015. They are worth investing in!

4) Take on a challenge: Each year, just before the old year closes and the new one dawns, sponsors of competitions and challenges for Indie writers unveil their New Year initiatives. 2015 is no exception. Participation for the 2015 competitions are already open for events from Broken Pencil and The National Indie Excellence Awards. Look around for other such opportunities and mark your calendars TODAY, so that you don't miss out on such opportunities for rewards and recognitions in 2015.

5) Professional events: Scour the internet and identify book fairs, networking meetings, publisher's open houses and such, and mark your schedules down with those dates. Once 2015 kicks off, things might get hectic for you and you may either forget about these all-important Indie writer networking opportunities, or miss the deadlines for pre-registration. Don't risk it. Register NOW and leverage those events in 2015.

6) Broaden your horizon: Just because you write books for a living, doesn't mean you shouldn't read them too! Start making your "2015 Must Read" list today, so that you can plan your reading throughout the New Year. Reading books of other authors who have the same or similar profile as yourself is a good strategy to refine your own writing skills. However, it might even be a good idea to include some books that are totally off the beaten path in your list - just so you can broaden your own horizon.

MAKE IT HAPPEN - NOW!

While there are still a few weeks left before 2014 ends, and the new chapter of 2015 begins, it's high time Indie authors start making their plans for the new year right now! Procrastination is the greatest enemy that any independent writer can face, often lulling them into a false sense of security.  

So unless you start actively searching for 2015 opportunities NOW, even before the year has begun, someone else is bound to find them and beat you to it!

 


 

A B CsEven before you fire up that word processor and start writing, there are certain decisions that you need to make that shouldn't be left to the end - about the books' published format. Don't confuse the published format with "formatting". They are two distinct things, yet both are closely interrelated.

Read on to learn more.

FORMAT VERSUS FORMATTING

When publishers talk "format", they usually talk in terms of the width and the height of the physical book. In the publisher's lingo:

  • A-format is 110mm wide and 178mm high
  • B-format is 130mm wide and 198mm high
  • C-format (also called Trade format or Demy) is 135mm wide and 216mm high
  • Royal format is 153mm wide and 234mm high

Copywriters, Editors and book formatters on the other hand talk "formatting" in terms of:

  • Margins
  • Tabs
  • Inter-paragraph space
  • Text justification
  • Fonts
  • ...and much more

As an indie writer, it's important for you to understand the distinction between these two aspects of your book so that you keep both the physical (height/width) as well as the aesthetics (size of fonts, layout of paragraphs etc) in mind as you create content for your manuscript.

6 VERSUS HALF A DOZZEN?

To the uninitiated, this might look like making much ado about nothing. It may even seem like we are splitting hair. What difference does it make how large or thick your book is? And why should it matter what size fonts you use, or what line-spacing you choose?

Both "format" and "formatting" have lots to do about the final vision indie writers have about their books. Here's why:

  • A-format books are often modestly priced, and formatted (sized) to be widely distributed in places like airports, supermarkets, train stations and subways. And that makes them ubiquitously available to the "common" reader
  • B-format books on the other hand have slightly more "literary appeal", and are usually associated with paperbacks that have more prestige attached to them   

If the amount of your content or your formatting (line and paragraph spacing, margins etc.) are dramatically out of line with the published format of your book, the typesetter and publisher might have to make some drastic decisions of their own. For instance:

  • If you have too much content for an A-format: They may have to squeeze all of that content into the book by reducing the fonts to such an extent that readers will need to squint in order to read your book!; or
  • If you've produced too little content for a B format: They may need to include so much extra white space between the sparse text, including wider margins, and bigger headers and footers, that the pages will look like they contain more space than text!  

Whatever the final decision the publisher will make, it's clear that the indie writer might not have too much control over it. And the best way to avoid such situations is to be aware, at the outset, of how your book formatting choices might impact the published format of your book.

LET THE PROS HELP

Whatever the size of the book is that you are looking for, or however many pages you've written, the ultimate decision might come down to how your book is formatted. And that's where book formatting specialists like TheFastFingers come in.

Remember, your choice of physical size (A-format, B-format etc.) will also determine other factors, like:

  • typeface size to be used
  • the right type and size of fonts
  • the thickness of the paper
  • the amount of space for the margin

 
Many of these aspects of the book can be discussed with a professional book formatter prior to final publication. Doing so will save indie authors a lot of post publication grief!